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Don't Say It, Pray It!

When we face problems and difficult situations, we often want to talk about them without going to God first. But if we did, the results might surprise us.

Someone recently said to me: "Prayer doesn't persuade the Lord to do things; it opens the way for God to do what He already wants to do!" I agree. God makes us a part of His mighty work in this powerful yet simple way.

… when God answered, I was startled. The problem was solved before my eyes in a marvellous way.

I think of it as being in a totally darkened room full of people who are struggling to complete different tasks, without light. Our prayers pull the shutters off the hidden windows and let in the glorious light and power of God. Too often, we forget the window; instead, we stumble around in the darkness, offering minimal help and sometimes more confusion.

Perhaps that is why, as I was about to offer what I thought was sage advice in a meeting, God cautioned me: "Don't say it, pray it!" "Pray it?" I thought, confused. "But, it's important that they know this information, isn't it? It won't look like I care or that I'm doing anything!" I was speechless. This is probably the real reason why I obeyed God's caution. I did not speak and I did pray. And when God answered, I was startled. The problem was solved before my eyes in a marvellous way. I felt like I was filled with helium; my inner joy turned into an inner conversation of thankfulness to God for His answer and our secret.

On the way home from the meeting I kept thinking: "What if it is really that simple all the time?" Did my prayers really make any difference? Except for my struggle of faith to believe prayer was enough, could it really be this effortless?

In the following months I kept experimenting with "praying it"—with surprising results. It worked! The words of Scripture began to light up with assurances that confirmed them. Repeatedly, Jesus told the disciples to ask the Father for what they needed and for what others needed. He didn't tell them to say anything to anyone else. He promised miracles if they would just believe and ask, in His name. Paul said that we too could come boldly before God, our entrance and welcome guaranteed by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10).

I have always believed in prayer. Recent surveys suggest that most people do. But I'm afraid it isn't always the first step that I take. I have been in the habit of screening the needs around me, as if only the "important" ones should be taken to our Father—as if God wants me to act first and call Him later. Now I am convinced that I have spent too much time stumbling around in the dark instead of opening that heavenly window and letting God "do what He already wants to do."

Managing Editor Gail Reid and her family are members of Runnymede United Church in Toronto.

Originally published in the Fellowship Magazine, March 2000.




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